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Any tips for declining a job offer?

Question :

I am a fresh graduate and after a long search I have been fortunate enough to get two job offers. Both jobs will start in three months. I have decided which one to take but I am not quite sure when and how to decline the other one. I know I should let them know as soon as possible that I won’t be joining, but it could be my back up in case anything happens with the other job during this period of time. When is the best time to do it?

Also, I plan to turn down the offer by email, thanking them for the opportunity and letting them know how much I value the offer but have decided not to join. Would that be appropriate? I want to make sure it doesn’t close doors for future opportunities. What should I say and should I give the real reason why I decline the offer?
 

Posted by Kevin on Monday, 01 Apr 2013

Comments :

Debbie Matson - Career Doctor

Posted Friday 24th May 2013 07:02:00 PM

 

Dear Kevin I am glad that you are giving serious thought as to how to turn down an offer. It is important to handle this situation well and avoid closing doors to future opportunities. First let’s address your method of communication. I do not recommend sending the offer rejection by email. Call both the Hiring Manager and the Human Resource contact, directly. Although they may be annoyed or upset to lose you, they will respect your courage in speaking to them directly. If you cannot reach these contacts, or as a follow up, then send an email. Consider the tone you will take in the call. You need to remember that a conversation by phone is no different than a conversation in person. Your feelings, appearance and energy level will all be felt by the recipient of the call. Treat the call as you would a personal meeting. Telephone from a quiet place and make sure to take the time to mentally prepare. Before launching into the conversation, confirm that this is a good time for the person to speak, and if not, schedule a different time. Be respectful and positive in your communication. Before making the call, think through your reasoning. How will you respond if the company asks why you have chosen another offer over theirs? Also, how will you respond if there is a counteroffer? Are you firm in your decision? Is money a factor? If not, do not respond to an offer of higher salary. Don’t engage in conversation of a counteroffer if you would not take it. Regarding timing, I understand your desire to have a back- up offer and you should make sure to have a signed contract with the job you have chosen before you reject the other offer. However, I don’t advise stringing the other offer along as a safety net once you have signed. If you reject the offer at a very late stage, you will risk leaving the company with a bad opinion of your professionalism. Once you are settled in your new job, consider staying in touch every 6 months with the company you turned down. Some day you may work for them, or they may become your client or your vendor. You never know and it is good to maintain professional connections with companies you admire. Good luck and enjoy your first post graduate job!

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